My Trip To Starbucks To Get A Venti Coffee Frappucino

This week, as I was sitting at home doing work, I decided I'd like to have a Venti Coffee Frappucino from Starbucks, which is a frequent indulgence for me. I find them quite refreshing (and a little bit addictive, I must admit!), and I am now about to share the experience with you, my viewing public.

First, I prepared for my trip by collecting the requisite funds (over four dollars, which I personally earned), a pair of sunglasses to protect my eyes from harmful UV rays, and a camera so I could appropriately document my 20-minute tour.

This is the beginning of a back alley leg of my trip, which I find quite pleasant in comparison to the walk along Lawrence Avenue, which tends to be noisy and dusty due to the increased levels of traffic as compared to this lightly travelled area. The walk takes me by dumpsters and the like, but it makes for a fine, quiet repast while walking through the city.

I continue my backways journey...

Still may seem long because of the number of pictures I've taken, but in reality, it's not very far at all. I simply don't want to deprive the viewing public of the full expeience, since I excel at writing about such a journey and have determined what best keeps the interest of my readers.

Now, I reach the end of the traversal of the path through the back road, and I will prepare to turn right towards my destination.

Here, I turn to the right to take a picture of the path I am about to take; however, note that my body is still facing the same direction as it was when I was walking through the back alley, and I have not yet completed the turn.

I turn, and continue.

As I continue towards Lawrence Avenue, I see the Lawrence Avenue bus, designated as Route #81. The Lawrence Avenue bus services much of Lawrence Avenue, bounded on the east by Lake Shore Drive, and on the west at the Jefferson Park station of the Blue Line, which would continue in a northwesterly direction towards O'Hare international airport. From the airport, you can take a plane to most anywhere! But I'm just getting a coffee. (I promise you, if I embark on a journey that takes me to the airport and beyond, I will present a detailed account on my return.)

I pass my local Blockbuster, which has twice overcharged me for returns on movies I returned on time, although the last time my mom convinced them that it was in their best interest to refund the erroneous late charge. If they try those shenanegans again, I will crush them under my heel like a bug. This is no idle threat--simply ask Star at the now defunct Sun Television and Appliances as to the temper of my steel!

As you can see, Blockbuster is currently featuring Any Given Sunday, a movie play about football and triumphing in the face of adversity.

Also featured are Supernova (now available in an R-rated version! Rowwrr!) and Mission to Mars. Both of these were displayed on the same side of the establishment, which I find to be an irresponsible overload of similar genre display (science-fiction) on one side of the building. After all, Any Given Sunday is advertised on the other side; why couldn't they have put, say, Mission to Mars and Any Given Sunday on this side, and Supernova on the other? I could only shake my head at this irresponsible and lackluster marketing effort, and wrote a reminder in my pocket notebook to speak to the manager about it next time I was there (assuming, of course, the company wasn't closed down due to irate customers before then).

On the way I pass a tree which strikes me. Although trees are plentiful in my neighborhood, I saw this one and thought that a good name for it would be The V-Tree! Can you guess why? (Hint: it has something to do with the way the tree is shaped.) Okay, I'll tell you--it's because the way one main branch and the other go in opposing ways from low in the tree, which is very low because, you may notice, trees normally don't branch until farther up, but this one branches much lower than the normal tree, thus giving it the "V"-like shape as you see here.

Continuing in my travels, I happen along this sad little pole with some sort of warning banner wrapped around the top. Isn't this silly? These banners are clearly of the type you see stretched across walkways or streets to prevent people from walking into accidents or open holes or what-have-you, yet here it is wrapped around the pole. Are we expected to need caution from actually walking inside the pole? Chucking to myself over the silliness of it all, I walk on.

I walk down another back way, as you can see. I expected this traversal to be without interest or incident, yet I came across a sign that interested me...

"SPEED HUMP AHEAD". "Speed hump"? I've heard of speed bumps before, but "speed hump"? The first possible explanation that came to mind causes an uncomfortable tightening in my trouserpants, and I decide to later chastise myself and write a few pages of freetext on the subject, but for now I cannot be distracted as I continue on my journey to get a Venti Coffee Frappucino. A few steps later, however, I see the explanation...

That's a speed hump. I determine the difference between a "speed bump" and a "speed hump" is that the "bump" variety is more bump-like, while the "hump" variety is of a more hump-like nature.

Farther along there's another similar sign, but this one just says "SPEED HUMP" instead of "SPEED HUMP AHEAD". Perhaps the sign makers realized that the "AHEAD" was more information than you need and that you assume the speed hump will be ahead of you. It would be pointless to have a sign for a speed hump you've already passed, because if you've gone past it you already know that it was there, because it has already forced you to reduce to a safer speed.

However, I look down this time and there is no speed hump to be seen. What is the meaning of this? Is there a sign here that pointlessly indicated a speed hump where there is none? Perhaps some vandal ripped it down from a deserving place and put the sign up to make us believe there's a speed hump where there is not, and to trick an unwary traveler into colliding with a speed hump when they were given no warning? Are we to believe a large puddle fills the same criteria as a "speed hump"? Shame on you, Mayor Daley!

I pass a vision supply store on the way, in which they're advertising "$79.00 for Single Vision", and I can't help wondering whether this is a scam. In case the disability make-up of this particular neighborhood is grossly out of proportion with the national norm, I take a quick mental survey of the people walking around me; however, I find that my expectation is correct, and I can see that the vast majority (if not all) of the people in the immediate area have two eyes, not simply a single one. Could this be the same sort of bait-and-switch as in the disreputable shoe shop in the old joke, in which the customer is told, "the left shoe is a dollar, but if you want the right shoe it will be another ten"? I vow to keep my eye on this development in the future, and will keep you updated on any boycotts or petitions I may organize, if need be.

This is the Lincoln Avenue bus, designated the #11 bus. It services Lincoln Avenue from Devon Avenue to the north, to North Avenue to the south. (Isn't it ironic--don't you think? That was a line from a popular song a few years back, and I think it rightly applies in this case.)

Chicago was built on a grid system with a "major" street every half mile - equal to four blocks. The starting point is at the intersection of State and Madison in the heart of the Loop. State Street runs north/south. All of the other north/south streets are numbered as so many blocks east or west of State, with the addresses increasing by 100 for each block (except downtown, where streets do not always correspond to a full block).

For example, Ashland Avenue runs north/south and is 16 blocks west of State and so its "address" is 1600 West. Since there are 8 blocks to a mile, we can also determine that Ashland is 2 miles west of State. Similarly all east/west streets are numbered as north or south of Madison, which runs east/west. The street that runs parallel to Madison eight blocks to the north (Chicago Avenue) is referred to as 800 North, and is one mile north of Madison.

I reprinted the description of Chicago's streets from the CTA site. Normally I wouldn't use someone else's text in the middle of a page on my site, but I thought it was so well-written, I deemed it worthwhile to repeat it here.

On the way, I passed a pigeon that was pecking at a piece of wood or bark or something similar. I couldn't quite tell which.

I shooed the pigeon away so I could get a good look at what it was. It was a piece of wood. Stupid pigeon.

Now, I take a small detour to share with you a delightful visual montage near the el stop. Under the tracks are a number of huge planters, and as you can see...they're painted in varying colors and decorated with the impressions of painted hands that were laid upon them while wet with different colors of paint and pressed to the surface in playful patterns!

This one, for example, is painted blue, with yellow hands imprinted on it.

Such as this one.

This one, too, is on the large planter.

This is below the previous one.

This hand, in turn, is below that.

This hand, is to the left of the previous one, and is inverted, in the sense that it rotated 180 degrees in orientation. The color of the hand itself is the same.

Continuing my trip to Starbucks for a Venti Coffee Frappucino, I pass the Davis theater. They play movie shows at quite reasonable prices--some days, you can get the enjoyment of the theater experience for only two dollars! The art films cost a little more, but if you enjoy the unusual, they're worth it.

They're currently featuring But I'm A Cheerleader, Saving Grace, X-Men, Pokemon 2000, and Gladiator.

Now I am across the street from Starbucks. The end of my journey is at hand! Soon, I shall be drinking a Venti Coffee Frappucino.

I'm about to step off the curb.

I step off the curb.

I am now slightly closer to Starbucks. I have proceeded partway across the intersection.

Now, I am even closer. The woman who crossed the street in front of me has already made it to Starbucks. Presumably she will be in line before I am, unless she takes an unusually long amount of time to decide what sort of drink she wants. But of course, the children with her will probably be impatient, so I don't really expect to get my coffee sooner than her.

My camera pauses six seconds between pictures, so in the time it's taken me to take the pictures of me crossing the street, the light has turned red. This has caused some backup and consternation in the traffic now travelling around me, and some unkind words were shouted to me from the motorists. I wanted to turn and shout "Feces!", but I wouldn't want to kiss my mother with lips of feces.

After a couple harrowing near misses and not a few epithets hurled my way in anger, I have finally reached my destination. I go in, and...

well there's there doorway inside, and, um...

they have these shakers on the table where there are napkins and creams and such, and...

so, one of them is vanilla, and, uh...

Argh! Goddamnit I can't take this anymore! This was so frickin boring I wanted to spit on any random person just to get some kinda reaction to clear the cotton fuzz that was clouding my brain. How does he do it? How does he get the will to take 21 pictures of an average WalMart trip, and them come home and document it like a four-page special in Highlights?

Curse you, Ben Schumin! I wanted to beat you at your own game but I don't have the will to carry on! Do you hear me, Ben Schumin? You win! BEN SCHUMIN, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, YOU WIN!

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